One of the few photos I have (some of the cousins)

The backyard of the house we lived in, in the Bronx. (It was my maternal grandmother’s house and when they all moved to California my grandmother sold all her NYC real estate and we  wound up moving into the projects.)

Little girl, lower left: Cousin Diane, youngest sister of my cousin Larry (the singah)
Older Girl behind her: Francine Adler. The Adler’s lived next door. Francine’s mother was my “Aunt” Bella, and from what I was told Aunt Bella was my staunch defender when I was little, little.  Francine sometimes babysat us even after we moved to Queens. Her boyfriend had the coolest car.
On Francine’s lap: That’s me, can’t ya tell?
Boy in the center: Johnny-boy – my elder male sibling.
Brooding Boy on the right: Jimmy-boy. Older brother to Diane and younger brother to Larry (the singah).

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Maybe it's the season, or that I am getting old (getting?) or

just maybe because I am nosy and curious and love my research but I spent some time tracking down my cousins last night.  It was a cursory tracking, precipitated really by a song playing in the car-car yesterday. FB can be a wonderful way to stalk find people.  Of course one thing leads to another with me and I found the obituaries for several relatives, an Aunt, an Uncle (by marriage). The Aunt in question being the mother (and grandmother and great-grandmother) of the cousins who FB pages I scrolled through.

My mother was one of 4 sisters who had, as a group, 12 children. Aunt Mary had four; Aunt Jo had 4, Aunt Rose had 1 and my mother had three.  On the other side, my father was the only male with five sisters. Aunts Kate, Tess and Jean had no children; Aunt Florrie had two, Aunt Marie had three and my father had 3.

My Aunt Mary’s kids had a boatload of kids, not sure about Aunt Jo’s kids, or Aunt Rose’s kid.  My elder male sibling had two daughters, my younger brother and I had no children. Aunt Florrie’s daughter had no children and her son probably had one or two – have no clue about him. Aunt Marie’s kids – no idea how they wound up but based on their childhood I’m guessing their lives did not turn out well but one can hope.

With the exception of Aunt Marie’s kids, all the other cousins (except for Aunt Mary’s two eldest two) were very close in age – in one case only a day apart, that would be John and Carol Joy. I am 9 months younger than Diane and 9 months older Linda; John and Jimmy are also 9 months apart, as are Skip and Bobby…with second cousin Joey (Camille’s son) the same age as Skip.  Donna is maybe a year or so younger than Skip. Camille and Larry are much older than the rest of the group and Sallie Ann is much younger. But come to think of it Al, Jr may be very close in age to John and Jimmy.

And no, none of the cousins were close. My Aunt Jo and her family, my Aunt Rose and her family, and my maternal grandparents moved to California, en masse, around 1950.  We lived in the Bronx until I was 8 and then my father moved us to Queens. Aunt Florrie and Aunt Marie stayed in the Bronx with all the rest of my father’s family.

Aunt Mary and her clan, as best I can recall, lived in Brooklyn and then they all migrated out to the island – Selden, Smithtown – like there. Eventually, much later, most of that clan,  moved on down to Florida.  When exactly I have no idea, certainly by the 1980’s. Except for my cousin Diane who somehow wound up in New Jersey and Larry lived in Arizona for a while but eventually joined the clan in Florida.

California cousins, from what I can find, are still in the San Jose area.

Aunt Florrie’s kids are still in Yonkers, at least the daughter is, living in the same two-family house Aunt Tess bought and shared with Aunt Florrie. Tess left the house to Donna, so Donna, now in her early 60’s has been living in the same place for, oh, about 50 years.  Aunt Marie’s kids are lost to history.

The nagging question I have had for years is why my father moved us to Queens. Getting from the Bronx to Queens is arduous, especially by public transportation. Getting to Brooklyn was no picnic either. While my father would drive us to the Bronx to visit his family, we had to take public transport to visit Aunt Mary in Brooklyn. It was buses and trains and hours.

So Pop, why Queens? Why so far away. We might as well been living in another country.

Anyway, the song that precipitated this meandering mishegoss was Runaround Sue by Dion and the Belmonts and this is my cousin Larry and the Bellhops – Larry is the lead singer in the center…

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"You have a weird brain"

said my husband when I recounted this story this morning.

Last night, in a semi-state of consciousness (settling back into sleep after a bathroom break) this conversation happened in my head:

First voice: “What language do they speak in Greenland?”
Second voice:  “Why Finnish, of course! But wait, before we talk about that let me tell you about…”

Then, boom, back into a deep sleep. Yet this morning, as I moved slowly from sleep to consciousness, that conversation replayed itself in my head and I wondered what the hell that was about.

I made a mental note to check Wikipedia (I specifically mentioned Wikipedia in my mental note) and you can read all about Greenland here, if you are so inclined.

And BTW – they speak Danish and Greenlandic in Greenland.

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Let's see now…

You may have noticed that there haven’t been any Thursday Grocery Rants in quite a while, well here you go then…It was looneytoon city at the store this morning. A store full of people being vague and moving slower than molasses going up a hill on a rainy day.  One dude had his shopping cart crosswise like a barrier wall in an aisle, he was yapping away to someone and I started to move the cart, he turns around and says “Oh is that blocking your way?” I bit my tongue, and only said “Yes…” that’s it, just “yes” not some flippy sarcastic remark. I’m very proud of myself.  Our favorite cashier wasn’t there, so we had to chose amongst the slow and the bitchy. We chose the slow one.

Our final grocery bill came out to $104 and change and that included a big bag of canned goods for the food bank collection box in our lobby.  We had racked up over $30 in store savings and another $5.35 for our Senior Discount.  Then there was my prescription, a month’s supply of meds for a whopping 17 cents! I wonder why they even make us pay that, they should just comp it.  If I ever get teeth I know the grocery bill will go up a lot but for the past 6 months we’ve been spending so little in the grocery store I often wonder why we bother to go at all.

Yesterday I posted on FB that I had caught a glimpse of myself in a mirrored wall and was shocked at how skinny my legs are. I wear leggings everyday now and they are baggy. Baggy leggings, seriously? This morning as we were leaving the apartment my husband said, in wonderment “Your legs are so skinny” .

No matter how fat I may have been at any point in my life I have always had skinny legs. I told my husband, when I was a fat teenager my father said “You look like a barrel on toothpicks”  My husband said “Oh now that was a not a nice thing to say” I replied “Well, you know my family – how many 13 year olds have a mother who encourages them to commit suicide?”  My husband, bless his heart, made a noise of disgust and said, Yeah, she wasn’t exactly the maternal type.” Y’all know what a charmer my mother was and I do wonder, on occasion, if she is still alive.

I’ve lived years of my life being fat, and years of my life being ridiculously skinny and only a few being a normal weight.  Right now I am not exactly fat but not exactly normal but through it all I have always had skinny legs!

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